Partnerships in Character Education Pilot Projects
Up to $4.1 million is available for this Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) grant program (Federal Register: CFDA# 84.215V), which supports pilot projects to design and implement character education programs as a way to improve the quality of education and the safety of school environments.
Only state educational agencies that have not received grants totalling $1 million under this program, in partnership with one or more local educational agencies, may apply. Note that 19 states (California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin) already have received the maximum amount of $1 million and are no longer eligible to apply. Eighteen additional states have received grants close to the $1 million allowed by law.
Estimated range of awards:
$100,000 to $1,000,000
Estimated average size of awards:
Estimated number of awards:
Up to 10
Deadline: Dec. 20, 2000
Contact: Beverly Farrar, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Room 502J, Washington, D.C. 20208-5645; phone (202) 219-1301, eMail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application package for this competition is available online at http://ed.gov/GrantApps/#84.215V.
Additional information is available online at:
http://www.ed.gov/legislation/ FedRegister/announcements/ 2000-4/102400a.html
$20 million for elementary school counselors
Fifty-eight school districts in 30 states will share $20 million in federal grants to establish or expand elementary school counseling programs, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley announced Sept. 15.
The new initiative will help school districts hire and train elementary school counselors, school psychologists, and social workers; expand access to counselors; and help share innovative and successful strategies for providing elementary school counseling.
“As the new school year begins, we must remind ourselves how critical it is that communities, families, and schools do all they can to get connected and stay connected with young people,” Riley said. “No child should walk the halls of a school unknownor unnoticed. These new grants will help pair kids with well-trained counselors.”
To receive the grants, school districts described their specific concerns, such as discipline, drug use, suspensions, expulsions, and the specific gaps in mental health services and staffing they plan to change to address their problems. The Education Department (ED) considered whether projects will successfully address students’ counseling needs, whether projects will build capacity and produce results after federal support ends, and whether projects will establish connections with other agencies or organizations that also serve the target population.
To increase the likelihood of success, projects must:
• Be comprehensive in addressing the personal, social, emotional, and educational needs of all students;
• Use a preventive approach to counseling geared to each child’s age;
• Increase the range, availability, quantity, and quality of counseling services;
• Expand counseling services only through the use of qualified school
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counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers;
• Use innovative approaches to increase children’s ability to understand and get along with peers and family members, make positive decisions, and plan for school and career;
• Provide counseling services that include classroom group and small group counseling, individual counseling, and consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators;
• Collaborate with institutions of higher education, businesses, community groups, social service agencies, or other public or private entities; and
• Evaluate program effectiveness annually.
School districts must establish an advisory board on the design and implementation of the program composed of parents; school counselors, psychologists, and social workers; teachers; school administrators; and community leaders.
The grants run for up to three years and are funded under the Fund for Innovation in Education. The program is administered by the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.
A list of grantees and their contact information can be found online at http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/09-2000/0915.html.
$42.3 for Smaller Learning Communities
ED also awarded $42.3 million in grants to help large high schools create smaller, safer, more personalized learning communities.
“In smaller high schools, students can get to know their classmates and teachers better,” Riley said. “It’s these personal connections that can be so important to success in school. Size matters. We know that students thrive in smaller school settings.”
Research has shown that students have better attendance, are less likely to drop out, exhibit fewer discipline problems, and perform better when attending a smaller high school, Riley said.
However, more than 70 percent of high school students attend schools with more than 1,000 students; half attend schools with more than 1,500 students. Riley said young people are more likely to feel isolated in such large schools.
Known as the Smaller Learning Communities Program, the grants will help high schools with 1,000 or more students to plan, develop, and implement strategies that personalize the learning environment for students.
Among strategies schools might employ are:
• Career academies that offer academic programs organized around a broad career theme; o Mentoring and other teacher-advisory systems in which teachers, counselors, other school staff, volunteers, and employees who work with students serve as mentors to help students on an individual basis;
• Schools-within-schools and “houses” that operate within existing schools, reporting directly to the school district and having their own staff, students, and budget; and
• Career clusters, which help students by mapping out a curriculum that would provide the academic and technical education necessary for their particular field.
A total of 354 schools, serving over 400,000 high school students in 39 states, will benefit during the first year of this program.
According to sources, ED is intent on expanding this program. Of the $42.3 million awarded this year, approximately $33.6 million was made in three-year implementation grants. President Clinton has requested $120 million in his 2001 budget to develop small, safe, and successful high schools.